Archives for posts with tag: self-reflection

At a high school basketball game with cross-town rivals, compassion stirred within me as a boy was wheeled to the center court at half-time to say “thank you” to the community for supporting him in his 4-month battle to survive a football game head injury. I had been at that big rivalry game. I had been one in a massive crowd that watched that motionless player get loaded into an ambulance.

A wave of compassion washed over me for this once strong and agile football boy who was now subdued in his wheelchair and overwhelmed by stands filled with fans at a wild basketball game. Compassion in considering the grief, loss, sadness, and many struggles his mother behind the wheelchair must still be going through settled in me. I want to take action to help them survive and get through this. If there had been an opportunity for attendees at this packed game to give money right then and there to help this family, I am confident it would have quadrupled the game proceeds benefit check raised and given to them during this halftime. Because nearly every parent I could see around me had eyes brimming with tears…as compassion filled them, along with gratefulness for our healthy sons.

As I reflect on being more compassionate this first month of the year, I do so with a desire to allow and then embrace the feelings of compassion I may have for others I interact with, or come across in my days.

Last week at a downtown red light on a cold January morning, I watched a man with a homeless sign smile brightly at drivers in cars ahead of me. “My Name is JAMES I’m homeless & could use any help” his cardboard sign read.

Will I engage my heart?

He waved a type of joyous, “Good Morning!” to folks as they hoped the red light would change to green so they could hurry to their jobs – to make money… to not have to make eye contact with James or to ever have to hold a sign like that. I felt compassion for James. Fortunately, during this red light, I embraced compassion and took a few needed steps of action to live compassion. It was quite simple.

I dug through my purse and car ashtray, finding a few piles of loose bills. “But what if I need cash later?” fleeted through my mind. Oh, that rational, “safe” voice with an edge of selfish care! “Then I’ll use a card,” my heart spoke to my mind. I am so thankful that I have work, money, a home, a car; I am glad I’m not James, and I hope this helps him in a small way.

With that, the light turned green, I hit the auto-window roll-down button on my passenger side, and waved at this man. He quickly came to my car as I rolled forward to him and stopped momentarily, backing up traffic for 3 seconds. “James,” I said as I handed him the cash, “may God bless you today,” I said. And we shared a smile while he verbally thanked me.

I am certain that some motorist farther behind me didn’t get through that red light because of the 3-second delay I caused by acting on my compassion with James. And I am OK with that!

Compassion is authentic when it moves you to action. True compassion transforms our behaviors.

How can I be on the alert this week – even today? What experience will I allow to slow me in my tracks? What observance will I choose to move me to action to compassionately help someone?

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The other evening in the dusk of a summer night I ran with my dog. As I took in the familiar sites of natural beauty along a favorite stretch of hilly road, I noted how my pup wasn’t quite the spastic fella he once was. It struck me that his six years resulted in our matching of our paces. (O.K., so I also noted how the distance and speed of my runs had also diminished in most recent years – which had nothing to do with my dog!)

They say you measure one dog’s year as being equivalent to seven human years. So basically, my dog and I were the same age! I smiled as I watched him plod along in front of me up a steep hill; both of us determined to keep going. “I wonder what his pace will be a year from now when he’s nearing 50 in human years, “ I thought as we trudged along.

I did a bit of mental math as I continued his age progression in a few more “dog years.” That didn’t last long. (Partly, I can hardly do math in my head when I’m sitting – and running didn’t aid my numbers sense!) I quit doing age progressions in my head of, “So in three years I will be ___ age, which means my dog will be ___ years old in people years.”

What if in one year’s time everything about my life equaled seven years from now – like it was fast-tracked and seven years passed all within an actual 365-day year?

The thought that in three years’ time my dog would age as much as 21 years in my life wasn’t something I want to think about. I love my dog and hate the thought of him not being able to go for runs with me because he’s too slow or that it’s too hard on his body. So I made what I thought was a wise choice and thought about next summer and how, Lord willing, he and I should both be a bit older but still be able to enjoy a summer’s evening run like now.

“What if my life’s years were measured in “dog years”?” I mused. What if in one year’s time everything about my life equaled seven years from now – like it was fast-tracked and seven years passed all within an actual 365-day year?”  I pondered that for a bit.

I wondered, “Would I change the way I lived these next 12 months if I knew that in a year my body would be seven years older, even though my life expectancy hadn’t been extended? If I knew that a year from now it would be as if seven years had passed, and my daughter would not be sophomore in college but would be into her life beyond college, and my son would not be a sophomore in high school, but would be in the middle of his college years – would that change how I lived this next year?”

How much more purposeful would I be with the gift of each day God blessed me with if it was “seven times” more valuable (as far as my finite mind can contrive) than normal? By living my Work-Life Balance Roadmap with diligence, I was pleased to feel at peace that I’m on track with each important “destination” in my life. Because of years of diligence in those important areas of my life, I didn’t freak out with a sense of panic that if seven years passed during the next 12 months that I’d find myself someplace I didn’t intend to be.

But these thoughts of living my life in dog’s years did make me assess the question, “If the passage of these next 12 months equaled the passage of seven human years, what would change in the way I lived life?” Col. 3:17 came to mind. “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

I think what would change for me would be the intensity of focus of purpose of each day. If I was involved doing what I believed were the “right” activities, pursuits, relationships, and use of time, then the question would become, “Am I doing these things and spending each moment as truly unto Jesus with a thankful heart?”

If this next year of your life was equivalent to a dog-year, or to put it a different way – if the passage of these next 12 months equaled the passage of seven human years, what would change in the way you lived life?

By Dr. Heidi Scott, Speaker, Coach, Consultant to Leaders, Teams, and Organizations

www.LearningPursuits.com   Book Chapter “Charting Your Course Toward Work-Life Balance” coming in the soon to be released book Roadmap to Success        ISBN 978-1-60013-664-1

I recently spent a few days with my daughter at her California college campus. Now I think I am pretty technologically savvy and “well connected” in our virtual realm – at least for someone in my age bracket! Yes, I Tweet, blog, and post business updates via a number of platforms. I Skype, use voice recognition software, and text. . . although my kids have informed me I’m ridiculously slow at it!

But I found it truly amazing to see how “connected” my college kid is! Throughout the day I watched her, her teammates, and friends rapidly whip out their smart phones, read/reply to personal messages with a smile or smirk, and slip their phone out of sight again. This happened all day long – while eating, talking, or walking – whether alone or with others.

The “New Normal” Communication Habits of Digital Natives

I teach college students at a university campus – so it’s not like I don’t see these habits of communication in action with this age bracket each week! But I only see my college students for snippets of time.

“Shadowing” my college daughter made me realize how our next generation of digital natives possesses different “rules” of communication and normalcy of life. For example, it is socially fine to instant message or text or email someone while visiting face-to-face with someone else in their generation.

Yes, I can’t help but remind my kids that “older” people – like me! – appreciate a focused, face-to-face conversation, where technology is ignored as a sign of respect and value for our time together. My high school son knows this. . . therefore he has perfected his skill in giving me 100% eye contact while his thumbs text without looking ! (OK, I still have some parenting time left before he leaves to college!)

It was also fascinating to see my daughter’s normal communication habits in the evenings in my hotel. While she “did homework” on her laptop, she also frequently picked up her phone to respond to texts, intermittently clicked on Facebook and smiled as she read updates of her friends and then replied.

Occasionally she flipped over to her email and took care of items there. And while she did all of this, she enjoyed watching TV (a luxury in the hotel compared to her dorm room!), all with one ear open and the other plugged in to her iPod.

This style of “being” is the new normal: Always on and constantly connected.

One afternoon we walked into her dorm room where her roommate was fast asleep in a nap. With a bit too much noise, this girl woke up. And with her eyes barely open, she squinted as she focused her slumbering vision on the screen on her phone that she held. I’m sure much had happened in her virtual world of connectedness during her nap!

Even in my generation of “40-somethings,” my constant connections can distract me and decrease my focus and productivity. So it’s not like only the younger generations are feeling the ADHD results of being always connected!

How do we tap in to our best thinking, make gains from self-reflection, and continue to gain awareness from quiet time – when we lack consistent times of quiet?!?

How you can "Go Dark"

Answer: Disconnection. Strategic and disciplined times of “Going Dark” (yes, think of Jack Bauer on 24 if need be for the concept to make sense!) and turning OFF all technology for a block of time may be the answer. Mindfulness and self-awareness are known to be great tools in continual self and leadership development. This often requires bursts of disconnection.

Action Plan: Go Dark. Even if for brief periods of time – Go Dark. What could happen if you disconnected and followed God’s advice – “Be STILL and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)?